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OCPP makes name change in attempt to develop new image

In an attempt to better reflect the services it provides, the Office of Career Planning and Placement is changing its name to University Career Services.

Officials made the decision to alter the name after realizing that the center does not place people in jobs but rather aids them in the search process, said Karen H. Knierim, University Career Services associate director.

"What we're trying to do is teach students the process, to explore job opportunities and conduct job searches," Knierim said. "It is more connection with employers than placement that we see as our role."

This changing role marks a national trend in career programming for college students, University Career Services Director James McBride said.

"Twenty-five years ago the goal for such offices was to work with fourth-year students to find a job," McBride said. "Today we help to develop a foundation for students starting at summer orientation and continuing even after graduation."

University Career Services aids students in areas such as exploring possible careers, obtaining externships and internships, designing resumes, applying to graduate and professional schools and finding jobs, he said.

For the career services staff at the University, the name change reflects the Office's emphasis on customer service, he added.

The public will learn of the new name throughout the course of the semester. Currently, visitors to the office's Web site first see a banner reading "Office of Career Planning and Placement." The banner changes to read "University Career Services" soon after entering the site.

The new name coincides with the relocation of University Career Services offices to Scott Stadium. Luxury boxes will be used for interview space. Knierim said the move could take place as soon as the beginning of the fall semester.

The timing of the move and name change is in part economically motivated, so that items such as business cards and letterheads will not need to be switched twice, she said.

While she added that the services offered always are changing, one area receiving specific attention is the University's externship program. The applicant pool for the program, which finds week-long unpaid work in students desired career fields, has grown in recent years to the point that not all interested students are able to participate.

"We have an experimental team studying how we can teach students to set up an externship on their own with the support of the staff," Knierim said.